Manchester United made it four wins from four without conceding in all competitions since the World Cup break as it cruised to a 3-0 victory over lowly Bournemouth in the Premier League on Tuesday to consolidate its hold on fourth spot.
Chances were few and far between in the Manchester rain in the first half, but Brazilian midfielder Casemiro did make one count by volleying home from a free-kick to give United the lead in the 23rd minute.
Bournemouth never really threatened to get an equaliser, with the game effectively over as a contest after a rare goal from England full-back Luke Shaw doubled the hosts’ advantage early in the second half.
United missed a flurry of late chances to add a third before the club’s top scorer this season, Marcus Rashford, added one more to his tally late on to put the seal on another impressive victory for Erik ten Hag’s side.
The win gives United a five-point cushion over Tottenham Hotspur in fifth and draws it level on points with third-placed Newcastle United, which drew 0-0 at leader Arsenal. Bournemouth stays 15th, two points above the relegation zone.
“I’m happy with the result, today it was not our best game,” Ten Hag said. “We have to be honest, we didn’t play that smart as a team.
“We made great goals, but at times we were quite lucky, and some great saves from David (de Gea). We could have been smarter as a team... To win 3-0 is always good.”
United have made Old Trafford a much more daunting place this season and were looking to set a run of four straight home league wins without conceding for the first time since 2017.
Ten Hag made four changes from the win at Wolverhampton Wanderers on the weekend and that seemed to disrupt United’s flow as they struggled to create many early openings.
One free-kick unlocked Bournemouth, however, with Christian Eriksen fizzing a pinpoint centre onto the boot of Casemiro, whose controlled finish ensured his second goal for the club.
One downside to an otherwise smooth opening period for United was an injury picked up by Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek on just his second league start of the season.
Shaw then started a flowing move that he completed with a sweeping finish in the 49th minute for his first United goal since March 2021.
That sparked the visitors into life, with goalkeeper David de Gea forced into a trio of fine saves to keep Bournemouth out.
United youngster Alejandro Garnacho then struck the post as the home side responded before Rashford scored for the fourth successive match in all competitions four minutes from time.
“It wasn’t a 3-0 game,” Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil said. “I think we had maybe six or seven chances but obviously Manchester United had some as well.”